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The Sport Management Club at Syracuse University will host its 17th Annual Charity Sports Auction as a hybrid event, benefiting the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation from Nov. 20 to Nov. 27. For the first time in club history, the auction will be split into two portions — the first will be in person, and the second will be virtual.
Last year, the 16th annual auction moved online due to COVID-19, but the auctions are typically held during halftime of a Syracuse men’s basketball game early in the season. However, Jakob Fox, one of three auction co-chairs this year, said that if it weren’t for the pandemic, the club wouldn’t have been able to reach a larger audience using GiftSmart, a mobile bidding fundraising software.
“We adjusted on the fly.” Fox said. “Having the online portion last year was a huge success because people from anywhere could bid.”
As COVID-19 restrictions have gradually loosened, this year’s event will return to the Carrier Dome on Nov. 20 when the Orange face Colgate. Due to last year’s success with GiveSmart, all bidding will take place on the application. Last year, there was a larger range of people online because the auction wasn’t centralized to just the Dome, Luca Giacobbe, one of the auction co-chairs, said.
Participants will be able to place bids as soon as the game starts and can continue to bid on their favorite items up to a week after the matchup. A variety of items will be available in the auction, including electronics, toys and signed sports memorabilia — like a signed football from Michael Strahan or a vintage Ichiro Suzuki baseball jersey.
“This auction isn’t just for sports fans,” co-chair Megan Monzo said. “With the holiday season approaching, we have a little bit of everything for everyone.”
Having raised over $500,000 for various nonprofits, the Sport Management Club, which is entirely student-run, will work together with the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation to support kids in need within central New York.
“We choose to impact people, particularly our community in central New York,” Fox said. “We wanted to make sure our work helps the community.”
Michael Veley, who is a professor in Falk College and the founding director of SU’s sport management Program, established the auction in 2004. Veley said the initial idea for an annual charity sports auction was to ensure his students could intertwine sport with their understanding of social responsibility.
“Syracuse is our home,” Veley said. “It’s important to embrace it and give back to the community.”
While Veley knew that the work his students produced was successful in helping many around CNY, he didn’t think their actions would directly affect him. During the fourth annual charity auction, the Sport Management Club generated $20,000 to benefit the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. The funds ended up going toward constructing a fish tank, an attraction that Veley said his grandson demanded to see upon receiving surgery at the hospital.
“I remember wheeling him out there, and all of a sudden I see this plaque: ‘Donated by the Sport Management Club at Syracuse University,’ and it emotionally just kind of hit me that the circle was completed at that point,” Veley said.
The auction has benefited organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Food Bank of Central New York and Meals on Wheels of Syracuse. Giacobbe said that he and the other co-chairs have been hard at work since April to make sure this year’s event is just as good, if not better, than years past.
“Our volunteerism is, in fact, changing people’s lives,” Veley said.
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